Upcoming talk “Optimism and the Value of Truth” (GAP.9)

Together with Christian Wirrwitz I will give a talk at GAP.9 next week (Tuesday 14:15): “Optimism and the Value of Truth”. Our starting point is a type of conversation we probably all have taken part in several times in our lives (both in the role of A and in the role of B): A and B are talking about some episode of their past or future lives. A paints it black, B reprimands A for being such a pessimist. A replies that she is not a pessimist, but a realist. Three observations about this type of conversation are important to us:

  1. Optimism is assumed to be good, at least by B.
  2. Having true beliefs (aka realism) is assumed to be good, at least by A.
  3. These two values are assumed to clash with each other, otherwise A’s reply wouldn’t make sense.

Drawing on several ideas (self-fulfilment and feedback loops, semantic indeterminacy, rejection of uniqueness/underdetermination principle) we offer an explanation of how optimists can value truth and need not be epistemically irrational.

For the full show come along on Tuesday (or have a chat with us at GAP.9)!


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